Saturday, 14 May 2011

1, 2, 3

I was having a chat with two colleagues the other day doing my best to brainwash them about the benefits of increasing cycling's modal share and making it safe enough for children to get around. One of them suggested that Adelaide had been built so obviously for the car that it was simply too late to make a change. A bit like when Darth Vader told Luke "it's too late for me, my son" in the Return of the Jedi.

Well we all know that Darth, or should I say Anakin, was wrong. There was still good in him and, in the same way, there is still plenty of cycling potential in Adelaide.

For one thing, we have these wide streets all over the place. Setting aside a lane on wide streets like Frome Road, North Terrace and the Parade in Norwood would be easy. On parts of North Terrace, it is 8 lanes wide if you include parking lanes. Other streets might require a tiny bit of imagination. Often it's as easy as taking away some of that free on-road car parking.

The mayor of Portand clearly agrees with me. His office has produced a video explaining the city's new "cycle tracks". On those roads where there is a bike path here, you have to ride in the door zone of parked cars. Instead of that the cycle track is put on the other side of parked cars with a buffer allowing space for opening doors. In other words, what you see in Copenhagen all of the time.

The beauty of this video is that it shows just how cheap and easy that first step would be.

The second step would have to follow very quickly after the first and would be to install proper junction treatments including, if necessary, separate traffic lights for bikes that help avoid conflicts.

The third step is then to raise the cycle tracks above the level of the road so that you limit the danger of having them driven or parked in.

Here's the video:

On the Right Track from Mayor Sam Adams on Vimeo.

The only odd thing is right at the end at 3 mins 23 secs. A young woman runs past the presenter in sports clothes that look suspiciously like she is wearing a huge pair of red underpants above her shorts.

I might need glasses.


  1. This style of bike lane was trialled in Sturt St, Adelaide CBD. The Adelaide city council spent 600,000 installing it and another 400,000 to remove it and unlike most user testing scenarios, it barely lasted 6 months due to local business creating a uproar. That 1000000 was 30% of a budget that was devoted to bicycle infrastructure for Adelaide and its surrounding fringe. A great shame.... I went and surveyed the scenario and questioned all the local business' to find out what happened. It seems that it was done without planning or design, it was just mimicked from Melbourne/ Copenhagen. There was a bicycle accident that was caused by poor signage and law breaking from a motorist. The result has been a huge blow to bicycle safety and progress in South Australia. South Australia has a reputation for being a progressive state, this seems to me as being oppressive; we must turn this around.

  2. Totally agree. The Sturt Street exercise was very unfortunate for a number of reasons. The sentiment behind it was great but its execution left a little to be desired. The bike path was too narrow and had tall kerbs. My biggest disappointment was with how quickly it was dismantled. It seems the council listened to local businesses and their assertions that it was damaging business but never asked how it might work. Nevertheless there still seems to be a lot of support for having another go and getting it right.

  3. Hi Edward,
    My name is Fyona, I'm from Bicycling Australia magazine - I wanted to talk to you in regards to a review I'm hoping you may be interested in writing on your blog. Do you have a contact number or email I could use to send you some more information? You can call me 02 4274 4884 or
    Thanks & great blog :)